Gimv launches healthcare fund

The Belgium-headquartered firm has so far raised €100m to invest in a sector where it believes ageing populations and a rise in chronic illnesses will create investment opportunities.

Gimv, a NYSE Euronext Brussels-listed group, has created an investment vehicle that focuses specifically on healthcare. 

The Health & Care Fund, which has a target of €200 million, has attracted €100 million in commitments so far. Gimv’s initial investment in the fund will be €50 million, while the Flemish government is also committing €50 million through VPM, a Gimv shareholder, according to a statement. The fund will also aim to attract additional commitments from institutional investors. A formal first close is planned for later this year. 

In the next six years, the Health & Care fund will invest amounts of up to €25 million in 10 to 15 “innovative” companies in the Benelux, Germany and France – geographies in which Gimv is already active. The Gimv Health & Care team, led by Bart Diels, will be responsible for the management of the fund. 

The listed firm launched a specific vehicle to ensure risk diversification and to enable Gimv to do larger investments. “Investing €200 million solely in the healthcare [space] from our balance sheet plus additional investments in biotechnology, which are currently above €100 million, would weigh too heavily [on the balance sheet],” a spokesperson said. 

Belgium-based Gimv believes the structural challenges within the healthcare sector are likely to create many opportunities. “The ageing population, a rising number of chronic diseases and better-informed patients continue to push up healthcare demand and costs,” Urbain Vandeurzen, chairman of the Gimv Board of Directors, said. This will force the sector to find “creative and innovative solutions”, he believes.  “With this fund, we want to encourage innovative companies and service providers in the sector to respond to this.”

A healthcare focus fits well with Gimv’s relatively new investment strategy, which was established in September 2012. Rather than concentrating on geographies, as it had done previously, Gimv singled out four investment sectors it would target: Consumer 2020, Smart Industries (technology), Sustainable Cities (infrastructure and utilities) and Health & Care (healthcare and life sciences).  

As well as investing from its balance sheet, Gimv manages a number of separate funds. In 2009, the firm created Gimv XL, which invests in Flemish growth companies, and Gimv-Agri+, an agricultural fund. Gimv is also responsible for two infrastructure funds, DG Infra+ and DG Infra Yield. Additionally, it created the Gimv Arkiv Tech Fund II in 2011. 

The firm manages approximately €1.8 billion of investments in 85 portfolio companies, which jointly have a turnover of more than €6 billion.